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Knowing the facts about elder abuse

Regardless of the type of need or condition, seniors in elder care residences deserve the utmost care and attention. This standard is maintained among most nursing homes in Maryland, but there are some that fail to meet these crucial and basic requirements. When a family member discovers that a loved one's needs are not being met, nursing home professionals are responsible for addressing the issue promptly and appropriately.

Learning about common forms of abuse that can occur within nursing home walls may not seem an ideal place to start when selecting a residence for a loved one. However, as The National Council on Aging expresses, becoming aware of potential risks in elder care can help family members spot the red flags. The NCOA lists the following as the most common forms of elder abuse: confinement and isolation, physical abuse, sexual abuse and passive neglect. Others include financial exploitation, in which nursing home staff may abuse their own power by withholding or misusing a patient's resources, and willful deprivation, wherein basic needs are made unavailable. These forms of neglect are certainly unsettling, as the NCOA adds that out of the 1 in 10 Americans aged 60 and older who are abused, only 1 in 14 cases ever reach the attention of authorities. 

If there is any sense to be made of such horrific actions in senior residences, it is that proper penalties, solutions and ultimately justice are an absolute must. Maryland's Department of Aging coincides with the NCOP by stating that awareness of elder abuse is the first step toward prevention. One additional red flag to watch out for involves psychological abuse. This neglect is often subtle, but can cause unexplained behavioral changes, mood swings and withdrawal from activities. The Department adds that proving any type of offense is not the responsibility of family and friends; instead, professionals must investigate any suspicions. Fortunately, resources also exist outside state lines, including the International Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and other programs that work toward eliminating this problem.










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